What Are the Best Ways for Caregivers to Manage Shadowing?
Senior Care in West Windsor NJ
Shadowing is a behavior that loved ones with dementia may occasionally exhibit in which they follow caregivers and other family members around closely. It can be an intimidating situation for a caregiver, especially if the reasons for the behavior aren’t clear. How you manage the behavior can make a big difference for your elderly loved one.
Assess Basic Needs First
Your first and sometimes easiest solution is to look at your loved one’s basic needs. Has she eaten or had something to drink lately? Does she need the restroom or is she sleepy? Run down the list of your loved one’s basic needs and look at what she might be missing or needing. Often meeting that need can help your loved one to feel at ease enough to stop the shadowing behavior.
Give Your Loved One a Task
Assuming that basic needs are not the issue, try giving your loved one something concrete to do. Working on a puzzle or tackling another task, such as sorting silverware, can help give your elderly loved one something to focus on besides your location and what you’re doing. Key to this kind of distraction is to occupy your loved one’s hands and her brain.
Offer Soothing Activities
If there are activities that soothe and reassure your elderly loved one, they’re perfect for times when she might feel uncomfortable enough to start shadowing you. Some of the activities that might soothe your loved one could involve listening to her favorite music, playing with a pet, or even visiting with other loved ones. Everyone is soothed by different activities, so it’s important to pay attention to what is calming for your elderly loved one.
Take a Break
Shadowing behavior can be trying for you as a caregiver, even if you understand why your loved one might be engaging in it. Taking regular breaks during the day can help you to feel less pressured if your loved one does start to engage in shadowing behavior. Make sure that you also take time away for longer breaks whenever you can. Joining a support group can give you access to other people who are also managing loved ones engaging in shadowing behaviors.
Your loved one’s senior care providers can help you to devise distractions and solutions that can help your loved one to lessen her shadowing behavior, so be sure to talk about it.